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    A delegation led by New Zealand’s Minister of Education, Honourable Anne Tolley, visited Peking University and the New Zealand Centre on 18 June 2010. This high-level delegation included the Ministry of Education’s Chief Executive, Ms Karen Sewell, as well as senior diplomatic staff from the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing.

    New Zealand universities were represented by Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon of the University of Auckland and the Pro Vice-Chancellors (International) of the University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Waikato and Victoria University of Wellington. Together with the University of Canterbury, these universities are partners in the New Zealand Centre at Peking University.

    The Minister was welcomed to Peking University by Vice-President Dr Li Yansong, New Zealand Centre Director Professor Liu Shusen, and other senior representatives of PKU. Following this fruitful meeting, the Minister witnessed the signing of an agreement launching a joint Master programme between Victoria University of Wellington and Peking University.

    Minister Tolley delivered a speech to PKU students and staff at the Chen Shouren Conference Hall entitled ‘The Role of Education: Encouraging New Zealand - Chinese Collaboration’. She was introduced by PKU Vice-President Li Yansong and Auckland Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon, representing the two founding institutions of the New Zealand Centre.

    After her speech, the Minister answered questions from students on such topics as Confucius Institutes in New Zealand, strategies to promote New Zealand’s strengths in tertiary education, and how students could contribute to further improving Sino-New Zealand relations. The Minister and delegation also visited the New Zealand Centre at PKU and chatted with the Centre’s students. Some of these students had studied at the University of Auckland on exchange in 2009 and 2010, and others had taken the Centre’s undergraduate course, ‘New Zealand: History and Culture'.

    This high-level delegation to Peking University is further evidence of the value New Zealand’s Government and universities place in nurturing ever stronger relations with China’s top universities.

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